Life-long learning

At the last International Baccalaureate Asia-Pacific conference, in Melbourne, Erica McWilliams indicated that the term “life-long learning” was, to put it mildly, over-used. So many schools and other educational organisations use it in their vision or mission statements that it has been rendered almost meaningless.

It certainly isn’t a modern concept. I remember that my grandmother, who had not completed high school, knew as much about what went on in the world around her as anyone else I knew. This is because she behaved like a life-long learner.

Recently, I asked a group of teachers “What does life-long learning look like?” They came up with things like “open-minded”, “inquiring”, etc. I asked them to elaborate on the behaviours, not the attitudes, because behaviour is all we can actually observe.

So, when we thought about it, we started to list some. For example, a life-long learner might, amongst other things,

– read newspapers, books, magazines, blogs, etc.

– follow news and/or current affairs programs on TV, the radio, the internet, etc.

– ask questions

– volunteer information and/or opinions, supported by evidence

– take note of the world around them

– take peaceful action to support their beliefs.

What do you think?

I’m learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.– Eartha Kitt

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About MV Education Services

MV Education Services collaborates with governments, organisations, schools and teachers to develop authentic student learning and make a difference to communities, societies and the planet.
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2 Responses to Life-long learning

  1. Natalie says:

    I love how you got teachers to think beyond attitudes and focus on behaviors. In an IB school it gets too easy to rely on the learner profile with taking it deeper. May try this with our staff to see what they come up with!

    • Thanks Nat. What worked back in Surabaya was to first get teachers to describe the behaviours they expected from the “ideal student”. We then mapped them against the IB Learner Profile. There were a few surprises and some of us had to consider a paradigm shift.

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